I received all of my degrees from the Faculty of Forestry at the University of Toronto, gradually moving from forest operations to wood chemistry, to pulp and paper science, and ultimately to advanced forest products including energy production. Along the way I became very interested in the policy aspects of both environmental management and technology development. From 2001-2003, I held a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia, where I focused on the environmental aspects related to human security in the global context. From 2003 until 2008, I was a Research Associate in the Forest Products Biotechnology group at UBC, where I was involved in the development of new bioenergy and biofuel technologies – both in Canada and around the world. My main area of focus was exploring policy tools to evaluate the efficiency of new energy systems, and to deploy these types of technologies in commercial application. Much of this work was done in conjunction with the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). I have been at Queen’s University since 2008 and currently hold an appointment in the Department of Geography and Planning. I am also the Director of the School of Policy Studies and an Associate Dean in the Faculty of Arts and Science at Queen's University. I have a cross-appointment to the School of Environmental Studies. I am currently the Director of the Queen’s Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy.
- renewable energy (bioenergy and energy from forests),
- policy and technology related to environment and energy,
- environmental policy.
My research focuses on the interface between renewable energy policy and technologies, with particular emphasis on wood energy and biofuels. This means that my students and I work across a broad spectrum that covers environmental policy, international approaches to renewable energy development, and commercialization of new products and processes. A major research project that we have undertaken at Queen’s is an evaluation of renewable energy opportunities and challenges specific to Eastern Ontario, which we have proposed as Canada’s first Renewable Energy Region. This will allow us to take a case study approach in examining policy for renewable energy options, and will provide a framework for expert advice to both federal and provincial governments on the development of strategies to reduce our reliance upon fossil energy sources. This research approach builds on international examples, in Sweden, Germany, Japan, and elsewhere, of successful regional strategies to develop renewable energy solutions. My research program is strongly connected to the activities of the International Energy Agency’s Bioenergy Task 39 ‘Liquid biofuels’, which offers us an avenue to explore different approaches to new energy systems, and gives my students a window to the world of international technology and policy development. We are also engaged in partnerships with our neighbours in the USA, through mechanisms including the IEA and the Great Lakes Sustainable Energy Consortium. At Queen’s, I am closely associated with the Sustainable Bioeconomy Centre (focused on technology solutions to drive the bioeconomy forward) and Queen’s Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy (focused on a portfolio of environmental and energy-related issues).
B.Sc.F., M.Sc.F., Ph.D. (Toronto, 2001)